Another party boat plan pitched in Greenport

10/22/2013 9:27 AM |

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | For a second time, Bruce Garritano is asking the board to rent space at Mitchell Park Marina to house a tour boat operation.

Former realtor, restaurateur, motel operator and electric scooter rental storeowner Bruce Garritano is once again petitioning the Village Board for permission to dock a tour and party boat in Mitchell Park Marina.

During its work session Monday, Mr. Garritano asked members to rent him and his group dock space for what he described as a “tour boat” that would run excursions on which passengers could purchase drinks and hors d’oeuvres and light snacks.

The 110-foot, 149-passenger boat would be available for three-hour tours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer months, Mr. Garritano said.

He also expressed interest in hosting private parties such as weddings and other receptions, as well as public events, including “80s themed” parties and Sunday brunches.

The pitch was similar to an unsuccessful proposal he made in January 2012.

At the time, Mr. Garritano said he was prepared to pay the village $10,000 for seasonal dock space. On Monday, he requested the board rent him space on the west end of Mitchell Park Marina at the same price point.

However, with more than $400,000 worth of upgrades recently completed at the marina, Deputy Mayor George Hubbard said the rental cost would be closer to $55,000.

“The marina has changed since then, our clientele has changed,” Mr. Hubbard said.

That change stems from the recently completed electrical upgrade at Mitchell Park Marina — with a goal of luring mega yachts to Greenport Harbor.

In August, usage of the marina was up 35 percent compared with last year, which village administrator David Abatelli has said brought in about $180,000 in additional revenue for the village in just one month.

While upset by the figure, Mr. Garritano said it doesn’t deter his plan.

“I understand that things have changed and an increase is fine, but from $10,000 to $55,000 is a huge difference,” he said. “But we are willing to move forward.”

When asked if he’d explored any other options to moor the boat, Mr. Garritano said he has his heart set on Mitchell Park Marina.

“We want to be a staple in the Village,” he said.

But similar proposals have run aground in Greenport.

In 2011, entrepreneur Ed Graham proposed operating a boat, on which drinks, hors d’oeuvres and light snacks would be served, for daylight cruises between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., sunset cruises between 5 and 9 p.m. and moonlight cruises from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. He said he was prepared to pay the village $10,000 for dock space, as well as a small fee for each passenger. The plan did not fly with officials in Greenport or in Riverhead, where Mr. Graham initially attempted to secure dock space, according to a previous Suffolk Times article.

Muddying the waters further is Mr. Garritano’s track record as a business owner in Southold Town.

Mr. Garritano is the former owner of the Blue Inn in East Marion. Under his ownership, neighbors closest to the motel likened it and it’s public restaurant to an “illegally constructed outdoor nightclub.”

They recalled drunken guests arguing and wandering into neighboring yards.

Activities at the motel inspired the East Marion Community Association to lead the push to pass Southold Town’s first noise ordinance nearly three years ago.

He later sold the property and opened a short -lived bicycle and electric scooter rental operation in the Village.

“I have a lot of concerns,” Mr. Hubbard said after the meeting. “I don’t want to knock anyone down for trying to do something in the village and opening a business that can make money. In theory [the tour boat is] a good idea. A lot of my concern was about rent, it’s a fifth of what we could make if someone else was in there.”

Mr. Hubbard said board members needed to discuss the idea further before taking any action.

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